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Homeracing

Kobe’s Back rallies to top gray trifecta in San Carlos

Profile Picture: Jen Caldwell

Jen Caldwell

March 13th, 2016

Kobe’s Back made it two in a row on Saturday at Santa Anita Park when rallying down the center of the track to prevail in the $301,035 San Carlos (G2) under jockey Gary Stevens.

The gray son of Flatter just made his five-year-old debut a half-length victory in the Palos Verdes (G2) on February 7 and returned in this spot for a stakes double.

The late-running horse had no one beat heading onto the backstretch as Mystery Train set the pace through splits of :22.79 and :45.16 while tracked by Outside Nashville. The latter runner moved up to run in tandem with Mystery Train rounding the turn, and the rest of the field was making up ground as well.

Kobe’s Back also began his move nearing the turn. The Peter Eurton trainee circled the entire field but still had just two horses beat entering the lane. He quickly kicked into high gear, took command and won going away to stop the clock in 1:22.20 for seven furlongs over the fast main track.

Sent off the 2-1 favorite, Kobe’s Back paid $6 for the win. It was 1 1/4 lengths back to Coastline, who took second by a half-length over 5-2 second choice Calculator. Cautious Giant just missed third by a neck.

Kobe’s Back is now 5-3-2 from 18 career starts and has earned $952,250 lifetime. In addition to the San Carlos and Palos Verdes, the Kentucky-bred also boasts scores in the 2015 Commonwealth (G3), 2014 San Vicente (G2) and 2013 Willard L. Proctor Memorial. He’s placed in five other stakes, including last year’s Santa Anita Sprint Championship (G1) and Bing Crosby (G1).

Bred by Joanne R. Mummert, Kobe’s Back is out of the Well Decorated mare Well, making him a half-brother to Grade 3 hero Well Spelled. This female family has also produced Grade/Group 2-winning sires Notation and Indian King.

Kobe’s Back photo courtesy of Benoit Photos

SAN CARLOS QUOTES

Gary Stevens, jockey Kobe’s Back, winner: “It was the best he’s ever broken. I’ve been aboard him in a couple of workouts in the mornings, before his last race and again last week and there have been a few times that he’s wanted to go after horses in front of him and I’ve let him. What I found out is that he’s not only a great stretch runner but he’s a good turn runner. And that wasn’t the case last year. With a little time off and the addition of blinkers he seems a lot more focused.

“He’s running on the turn so he’s gaining ground and doesn’t have to work so hard in the stretch. It gives me a lot of confidence. I knew at the half-mile pole that they were all in deep water and that’s a pretty good feeling.”

“Pete’s got him figured out.”

Peter Eurton, trainer Kobe’s Back, winner: “Did you see how he came out of the gate? He broke too fresh, and that was good. He’s just good right now. He’s the best he’s been in so long. Gary hustled him a little bit and then he kind of let him fall back.

“He’ll probably run next at (May 7) Churchill Downs (S. [G2]) on Derby Day.”

Tyler Baze, jockey Coastline, second: “I had a beautiful trip. I didn’t really know how much he would eat the dirt, but I watched the replays from his dirt races and it looked like he had handled dirt in the face just fine. I really kind of let him run his race. I wanted to be patient with him going from six and a half down the hill to seven-eighths, I think the distance is never a question with him, but I wanted to make sure I timed it right – especially when I had to thread the needle through a haystack. He ran really good.”

Flavien Prat, jockey Calculator, third: “I had a good race, he (Calculator) had his shot and he was a little bit aggressive on the back side. That’s my only regret but overall, we had a good trip. He’s a good horse and he’s going to improve anyway so I’m happy with that race.”

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